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Addison Township is rich in historic associations. It is part of the region known to the Indians and the early white explorers and settlers as Turkeyfoot, embracing the scene of the earliest settlement in Somerset County. The Youghiogheny River, forming the Western boundary of the Township, and the Casselman, forming the Northern Line, each flow through a country rich in picturesque features. Along these streams were the hunting-grounds and routes of travel of the Indians. The number of implements of Indian manufacture which have been discovered in these localities shows conclusively that large numbers of the aborigines must have frequented this region. Numerous Indian graves which have been found at Fort Hill and vicinity are also evidence of the same fact.
Fort Hill is one of the main peculiar natural mounds belonging to the terrace formation, which are found in various parts of the United States. It is a hill of considerable altitude, having an area of about one hundred acres, of which seven acres, nearly level, but sloping toward the center, form the top. Its commanding position doubtless caused it to be occupied by the Indians as a point of oberservation in times of danger. The number of graves here also indicates that the hill may have been the site of an encampment, more or less permanently occupied. There is no evidence that there was ever a Fort of any kind at this point.
The most interesting spot in the township is the Old Graveyard at the "Six Populars", on the bottom-land of the Casselman River. There are fully one hundred graves in this Old Cemetery, and the names of the greater portion of those buried here are now lost in oblivion. Few of the Headstones have inscriptions upon them. The Six Populars are themselves objects of interest. The trees are so closely grown together near the ground that they form one perfect trunk of large circumference. About six feet from the earth they separate and form six tall and stately trees. One of the trunks was destroyed by lighting a few years since, but five of them still remain thrifty and vigorous. A Gravestone which reposed for many years in the forks of the many-bodied tree was supposed by many to have been lifted from the earth by the trees. This, as any thoughtful person can see, is an improbable supposition. The Stone was doubtless placed there by human hands and forgotten.
Near the tree is the grave of Richard Green, who was born in 1734 and died in 1808. Three Richard Greens are buried here, representatives of three generations. The last was buried about 1827, since which time few, if any, internments have been made in this Graveyard. Mr. John Hanna, who assisted in digging this grave, states that in removing the earth he came upon a skelton of such extraordinary size that it would seem that the bones were those of a man of gigantic statue. The body had been wrapped in a striped blanket and deposited in a coffin of Chestnut puncheons, fastened together with wrought nails. The bones were collected together by the gravediggers and deposited in a hole at the bottom of the grave, and over them the remains of Green were then interred.
An old resident stated to Mr. Hanna that no person had ever been buried in that spot during the time of his recollections. The use of nails and a coffin indicated that the body was that of a white man. But who was the mysterious stranger who died here? And who were his companions that laided him to rest in this wild and lonely spot? The answer to these questions must ever remain a mystery. There are traditions of earlier settlements than any of which we have an accurate account. But as they are unsupported by any trustworthy accounts, and are contradicted by all known facts of history, it is not deemed advisable to enter upon a discussion of them in these pages.
According to authentic records, namely, the testimony of Rev. Capt. John Steel, who visited this locality in April, 1768 the following persons were then resident at or near Turkeyfoot: Henry Abrahams, Ezekiel Dewitt, James Spencer, Benjamin Jennings, John Cooper, Ezekiel Hichman, John Enslow, Henry Enslow and Benjamin Pursley. Some of these doubtless lived within the bounds of Addison Township.
Addison township was originally embraced in Turkeyfoot. A new Township was formed and given the name of Addison in 1800. Through the southwestern part of this township leads the road which Braddock followed to disastrious defeat in 1755.
The following were the resident taxpayers of Addison township in the year 1805.
The assessor was James Campbell; Philip Smith and Thomas Spencer, assistants.
Gabriel Abrams, Peter Augustine Sr., Peter Augustine Jr. (distiller), Frederick Augustine (distiller), Jacob Brunner, John Burges, George Barnet, Henry Bowser, Peter Bowser, Anthony Brandeberry, James Bordman, Wi lliam Burges, Edward Conley (cooper), James Campbell, John Collier, Burtgas Derris, Gordon Darragh (gristmill), Widow Devis, Frederick Dively, Benjamin Durbance (fulling and oilmill), Isaac Fick, Widow Forchy, John Forchy, Aaron Ferebare, Jacob Flick, Sam uel Francis, Jacob Foy, Richard Green, Thomas Green, David Gundsey, Widow Harnot, Widow Hartzell, Jonas Hartzell, George Heinbaugh, Sr., George Heinbaugh Jr., John Hershberger, Andrew Hereader, John Huver, Isaac Heston, John Heston, Martin Hilman, George Hu sher, Joseph Hershberger, Thomas Huff Sr., Thomas Hudd Jr., Thomas Johnston (tailor), Elia Jacobs, Joseph Jones, John Jones (gristmill and sawmill), Peteer Kimel, Edward Kem (still), Widow Kemp, John Liston, James McNeer, Robert McNeer, John McNeer, Samue l McNeer, James Mitchell, G. Morrison, Benjamin Mitchell, George Miller, John Miller, Henry Meyer, John Mountain, Joseph Mountain, Robert McClintock, Widow McClintock, William McClintock John Mitchell Esq., Henry Nogle, Jacob Niclow, Christopher Ollinger, Henry Osler (blacksmith), William Price, John Parsely, Bedwell Parnel, John Peck, John Rowen, Stewart Towen, William Rowen, George Robison, Jacob Ruple, John Tuple, Henry Ridgely, James Smith (saddler), William Sylbaugh, Conrad Sylbaugh, Benjamin Spencer, James Spencer, Thomas Spencer, Conrad Show (tavern), Jacob Smith, Philip Smith, John Shenson (smith), Nininen Tannyhill, Widow Turney, John Turney, George Turney, Isaac Tharp, Alexander Thomas, James Wright (still), George Wass, Jacob Welch (store and tav er n), William Wilkins, Conrad Wable, Widow Wilkins, Jacob Walter, Vachtel White, James Wilkins, (single freeman - Stewart Rowen, Alexander Thomas(distiller), Fred Forman (carpenter), Henry Every (blacksmith), Henry Huver, Peter Augustine (distillers), Thoma s Jones, Michael Deets (carpenter) Oliver Jones, Edward Durbans, Jona Harnot, Abrm. Busenberg, (shoemaker), James Still, Alexander McClintock.
James Mitchell was born in Ireland, in 1719, He was one of the pioneer settlers of Bedford County. About 1780 he moved to Somerset County, and settled in Addison township, near Confluence. He died in 1793. His children were James, Thomas, John, Lewis, Sarah (McKinney) and Margaret (Wilkins). His son, James, born in Bedford County, in 1766, settled near Confluence, and died in 1829. His son John, who was born in Addison township, in 1800, is still living, and in good health. He has followed farming and the mercantile business, and now lives on a farm once owned by his father.
Derrick Bird was born in New Jersey, in 1763. When about thirty-five years of age, he came to Addison township. He was avolunteer soldier in the War of 1812. He was accidentally killed by falling of a tree. Mr. Bird married Elizabeth Barnet, and was the father of eighteen children, of w hom six are living: George W., Alexander, Archibald, Catherine(Pratt), Margaret (Linsey) and Ellen (Clister). Archibald served in Co. B, 16th Penn. Cav., from February to August, 1865. He owns a farm of three hundred and thirty-five acres, and a sawmill.
John McClintock was the son of an early settler. He was a large landholder in this township, He died about 1850. His children were: Alexander, John E. P., James Y., Eston (deceased), Andrew, Mitchell E. P., William (deceased), Margaret (deceased), Pol ly (McClintock, deceased), Jane (McClintock, deceased), and Rachael (Cunningham). Robert E. P., who was born in 1808, is still living on one of the farms formely owned by his father. Jonas, son of Robert, is living on a farm which he bought in 1870. He has served as Township Auditor, School-director, Assessor and County Commissioner. Stephen, another son of Robert, has taught school for ten winters. He has recently bought a farm near Harnedsville.
James Wright, an early settler, who lived on the James Y. McClintock farm, was the father of twenty-three children, twenty of them being twins. \par \par Conrad Silbaugh, a native of Germany, was one of the early settlers of this township, and improved the land on which his Grandsons, William and Robert, now live. H is son William, born in 1779, farmed on the homestead until his death in 1832. He married Jane McNair, and was the father of James, Robert, Moses, William, Harrison, Sarah (McClintock), Catherine (Bowlin) and Jane (Heinbach), living;Henry, Noah, Annie, M ary (Ringer) and Elizabeth (Heinbach) deceased. William has farmed during the greater part of his life. He had held various township offices.
Solomon Hershberger, a native of Elk Lick township, settled in Addison in 1863, on a farm of three hundred and f ifty acres, which he purchased of Jonas Peck, his father-in-law. Mr. Hershberger has one of the most finly improved farms in the eastern part of the township. He also has a fine sugar orchard, from which he makes four or five thousand pounds of sugar annually.
Jacob Shoemaker, a native of Elk Lick township, settled in Addison about 1858, having purchased land of his father, Anthony, an early settler. The homestead is now owned by William J., son of Jacob, who purchased it in 1878. His brother, Jeremiah J. Shoemaker, is also a resident of this township.
Andrew Cremer is a farmer and owns six hundred acres of land, both timber and cleared. He has a sawmill, erected in 1872. Mr. Cremer's grandfather, James Wright, was an early settler of this township. Catharine Cremer, wife of Andrew, is a granddaughte r of Jacob Augustine, one of the first settlers. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cremer were born in this township.
George Wass was born in Addison township. In 1854 he purchased eight hundred acres of land of Thoma s Liston, including a sawmill. In 1871 he rebuilt the sawmill, and in 1873, erected a planing-mill. L. M. Lininger owns one-half of the property. The firm manufacture all kinds of building lumber, and, on an average, saws seven hundred thousand feet of lumber per year. George Wass, the father of the subject of this notice, was quite and early settler in this township, and died in 1833, at the age of fifty-eight.
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